U women's hockey team upbeat as season begins

  • Article by: ROMAN AUGUSTOVIZ , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 27, 2011 - 11:12 PM

The Gophers open play in their East/West Showcase on Friday with high hopes and high expectations.

Brad Frost

Photo: Star Tribune, ALL

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Two players remain out because of post-concussion symptoms and one assistant coach position remains unfilled, but the Gophers women's hockey team starts its season this weekend. Minnesota is the host school for the four-team East/West Showcase at Ridder Arena.

Expectations for the Gophers are high as usual. They were picked to finish second in the WCHA preseason coaches poll behind defending NCAA champion Wisconsin and were ranked fourth in both major national polls. They play Union on Friday and Syracuse on Saturday in the showcase. St. Cloud State is the other West team in the field.

Nineteen of 23 players return from a 26-10-2 Gophers team that lost its final two games last season. Wisconsin beat the Gophers 5-4 in overtime of the title game of the WCHA tournament and Boston College beat them 4-1 in an NCAA regional.

"This is probably the deepest team that I have coached at the U in my five seasons," coach Brad Frost said. "We've got a great team on paper. But there is also many other strong teams in our league, let alone nationally."

Three of the Gophers' key players are goalie Noora Raty and defenseman Anne Schleper, two first-team all-WCHA picks, and forward Amanda Kessel, the conference's rookie of the year.

"[Raty] has won Olympic medals [for Finland]," Frost said, "she has been a two-time All-American and she is one of the best in the country. We feel very confident with her back there."

Schleper took the summer off from hockey after dealing with wrist issues the past two seasons. "I am healthy and I've got to stay there," she said. "That's half the battle in the collegiate game, keeping a healthy team."

Kessel had 19 goals and a team-high 50 points, but even she was hurting.

"What most people don't know she was nicked up for the majority of last year," Frost said. "You never saw Amanda playing at 100 percent."

Two players not healthy are junior goalie Alyssa Grogan and sophomore forward Ashley Stenerson. Grogan suffered a concussion 11 months ago, Stenerson a couple of months ago. "We will continue rehab for them and hope they get better," Frost said.

International intrigue

Frost has an opening on his staff because Natalie Darwitz resigned in early August. Darwitz, a former Gopher and Olympic star, accepted a job as the girls' hockey coach at Lakeville South.

"We have hired someone unofficially; I can't tell you who," Frost said. "They have been hired for about a month now but we are working on some visa issues to get her across the border."

That narrows it down to all the female hockey coaches in Canada.



    Friday: vs. Union, 7 p.m.

    Saturday: vs. Syracuse, 7 p.m.

    • SCSU plays at 4 p.m. both days • All games at Ridder Arena

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Toronto 104 FINAL
Indiana 91
Cleveland 103 FINAL
Detroit 95
Milwaukee 109 FINAL
Miami 102
Memphis 109 FINAL
Dallas 90
Chicago 113 FINAL
Golden State 111
Washington 98 FINAL
LA Lakers 92
NY Rangers 1 FINAL
NY Islanders 4
Arizona 3 FINAL(SO)
Philadelphia 4
Winnipeg 3 FINAL
Pittsburgh 5
Washington 3 FINAL
Columbus 4
Tampa Bay 2 FINAL
Carolina 4
Dallas 2 FINAL
Montreal 3
Detroit 5 FINAL
Florida 4
Colorado 3 FINAL(OT)
Nashville 4
Buffalo 1 FINAL
Calgary 4
Minnesota 2 FINAL
Edmonton 1
Anaheim 4 FINAL
Vancouver 0
Ball State 47 FINAL
Akron 59
Northern Ill 46 FINAL
Bowling Green 56
Western Mich 71 FINAL
Buffalo 77
Ohio 40 FINAL
Eastern Mich 76
Xavier 66 FINAL
Georgetown 53
Vanderbilt 62 FINAL
Georgia 70
West Virginia 65 FINAL
Kansas State 59
Central Mich 53 FINAL
Kent State 63
Saint Josephs 48 FINAL
La Salle 53
Nebraska 44 FINAL
Michigan 58
Miami-Ohio 65 FINAL
Toledo 70
Tulsa 62 FINAL
Tulane 55
George Washington 48 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 72
Pittsburgh 67 FINAL
Virginia Tech 70
Indiana State 78 FINAL
Evansville 89
Tabor College 53 FINAL
Oral Roberts 94
Florida 52 FINAL
Alabama 50
Tennessee 64 FINAL
Arkansas 69
Texas A&M 71 FINAL
Auburn 61
Baylor 53 FINAL
Oklahoma State 64
DePaul 0 Postponed
Providence 0
Michigan State 0 Postponed
Rutgers 0
Wyoming 44 FINAL
Utah State 56
Fresno State 47 FINAL
San Diego St 58
Nevada 62
SD Christian 54 FINAL
CS-Bakersfield 79
Colorado State 78 FINAL
Boise State 82
Temple 71 FINAL
UCF 54
Campbell 42 FINAL
Presbyterian 51
Coastal Carolina 65 FINAL
High Point 73
Gardner-Webb 49 FINAL
Radford 59
UNC-Asheville 58 FINAL
Liberty 62
Winthrop 63 FINAL
Longwood 62
Columbia International 33 FINAL
Charleston Southern 74
Tulane 63 FINAL
Houston 46
(3) Baylor 89 FINAL
TCU 67
Navy 49 FINAL
American Univ 59
Valparaiso 42 FINAL
Illinois-Chicago 60
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters





question of the day

Poll: Do you favor the plan for expanded athletic facilities at the U of M?

Weekly Question